Busted Halo

In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.


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July 27th, 2010

Beauty v Truth


Ok, look at this ad quickly…

barbie ad

Looks normal right?

Yeah, these aren’t human beings, they are Barbie dolls.

Thanks to the blog Sociological Images, for highlighting the find from Sarah Barnes at Uplift, an online magazine.

Honesty is a virtue — as is beauty, arguably. But wow, are these two ideas in conflict here. What’s freaking me out (and other women) is that at first glance we don’t even notice that the women are fake. We’re that used to seeing airbrushed models that we just see this as yet another display ad for some fashion show or product.

This is problematic. While I don’t need to see rolls of fat on models either, it’s probably time to acknowledge that, in the quest for “perfection,” we’ve lost touch with reality.

The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • cathyf

    Of course they are barbies. Even though almost all of the barbies of my experience were naked, damp and face-down on the bottom of the bathtub, I recognized them in an instant!

    (Now if you could answer the question “why do little girls pull all of the clothes off of the dolls and leave them strewn about nekkid” then you would have really contributed to the store of human knowledge and understanding!)

  • Brandon

    I’m with Maria. It was obvious that they were dolls even from just seeing the thumbnail picture on the homepage. The proportions are way off (legs and necks too long, hair looks fake, and the height to width ratio is extreme, even for a model).

  • Maria

    I think that is quite ridiculous to say that at first glance we don’t realize the women are fake. They are quite obviously Barbie Dolls; not even airbrushed models look like that.

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